CIPAST Newsletter December 2006

Dear reader,

This is the fifth issue of the CIPAST newsletter. This quarterly newsletter provides news on the situation of participatory procedures in Europe and news about the CIPAST project and its members.
I hope you will not be too stressed in the run-up to Christmas and would like to take the opportunity to wish you all the very best for 2007. I hope you all will find the time to relax, despite all the hectic activities usually linked to the old years closure. Don’t forget to keep some energy for the New Year’s participative activities.

Yours sincerely,
Norbert Steinhaus, Editor

There is a pdf version of the newsletter you can download here(322 kb).

The next issue will be published in March 2007. Please feel free to contribute.

Table of Contents

Dates and Events

How to design and organize public deliberation?
2nd CIPAST training workshop including public events,
June, 17th - 21st, 2007, Naples, Italy

In recent years, quite a few experiences of public participation in science and technology have taken place in European countries. Also, within the European ‘Science and Society Action Plan’, more active public participation is identified as one of the key ways for improving the relationships between science and society. However, this did not lead to global learning process yet since such experiences were conducted using a variety of contexts, problems and participatory processes. It is now necessary to foster organisational learning, dissemination of good practices across institutions and countries, as well as critical self-reflection. The training workshops of the CIPAST consortium are instrumental tools to achieve this objective. They aim at gathering users and stakeholders, as well as researchers interested in participatory methods & procedures.

The CIPAST consortium will organise the second training workshop on ‘How to design and organise public deliberation’ in Naples, from June 17th to June 21st 2007.

Final conference in Brussels

On the 5th of February 2007 the final conference on the NanoDialogue project will take place at the European Parliament in Brussels. The project, promoted by the 6th Framework Program of the European Commission and organized by a consortium coordinated by Fondazione Idis – Città della Scienza of Naples, Italy, is one of the first projects, at European level, that focused on an intense dialogue activity with citizens and stakeholders on ethical, social and legal aspects of nanotechnologies.
NanoDialogue has involved ... >>more

Promoting participative environmental planning in Catalonia

The recognition of the existence of co-evolutionary dynamics between society and the environment determines the necessity of proposing new strategies for local policies, with a greater involving in the urban planning. So we must turn to new instruments of intervention, more considered and more complex, which includes the environmental dimension of territory and the expectations which have often been expressed by the population. Environmental planning, across the 21 Local Agendas and other tools of the new generation, offers a cross-section view ... >>more

Les Etats généraux de l’alcool - A citizens’ debate on alcohol issues in France

Alcohol has a notable place within French society: it is of great importance from economic and cultural standpoints. But it is also the second most common cause of avoidable death: it plays a direct or indirect role in the occurence of many diseases, and it is also involved in road accidents, violence and in some mental diseases. In the face of such stakes, ... >>more

The “Dialogue on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology” Project

In 2003 CREA, in collaboration with the Communication and Scientific Dissemination Department within the Barcelona Science Park, started a project to open the Science Park to the Neighbourhood. This project was a framework ... >>more


Citizen Participation and Democratic Governance

PRIA’s 25th Anniversary Dialogues in Delhi, February 5-8, 2007
PRIA began its journey with a belief in the tenet ‘knowledge is power’. Meanwhile, building on its international linkages PRIA broadened the network of civil society actors drawn together by a common goal to include local, national and international organizations exchanging experience and learning; strengthening civil society voices advocating for participation and an empowered citizenship. Its journey of participatory research, which began from a small hut in New Delhi, has today extended its outreach to directly touch the lives of the poor and marginalized living in 12 states of the country and many countries beyond.
The Seminar on the 5th of February, 2007 is a celebration of this participatory research network and attempts to explore ways of deepening this networking and learning exchange. It is an occasion not only of celebration but an opportunity to bring together academicians, practitioners, civil society activists, bureaucrats and citizen leaders from across the country and the world to reflect on what participatory research has given us and what more it has to offer. For further information on PRIA and the seminar you may visit the website

Publication: Interfaces between Science and Society
The aim of the project of science has been to provide answers to questions about the world and how it works. Often, this lofty role has been characterised by a narrow and dogmatic scientific training, an unwillingness to communicate to differing stakeholder needs, a refusal to accept and to manage uncertainty, complexity and value commitments, and the reduction of knowledge assessment to colleague peer review on narrowly technical issues. Times have changed. As the world faces increasingly disparate challenges, science is subjected to increasingly vehement demands from a society calling for transparency, openness and public participation in science policy. Science is going through an evolutionary process — perhaps the most painful process it has ever encountered.
Research on the interfaces between science and society is a burgeoning area. A new conception of knowledge now appears to be emerging, based on the awareness of complexity, uncertainty and a plurality of perspectives and interests.
Democracy is extending into the previously quite exclusive scientific realm, and science must now submit to public scrutiny and participation in the governance of knowledge. This book provides much-needed reflections on the methods and tools for knowledge quality assurance, particularly on its inputs to extended policy and decision-making processes.
The overall aim is to improve the relationship between science and society. The discussion involves six themes: communicating between plural perspectives; accepting and learning how to manage uncertainty, complexity and value commitments; acknowledging new conceptions of knowledge; implementing transparency, openness and participation in science policy; valuing communitybased research; and exploring how new ICT can support inclusive governance. Taken together, these themes provide both a framework and vision on how to conceive, discuss and evaluate the changes that are occurring. The chapters cover theory, practice, approaches, experiences, ideas and suggestions for a move beyond ‘talking the talk’ to ‘walking the walk’. Science and policy interfaces are dynamic processes needing to permanently redefine themselves and their roles. This book contributes to the enrichment and deepening of our understanding of these important new trends in the social relations of science, which are fundamental to our understanding of the prospects for further progress.
Science and Society Interfaces, edited by Ângela Guimarães Pereira, Sofia Guedes Vaz and Sylvia Tognetti, European Commission Joint Research Centre, Italy, November 2006, 366 pp, ISBN 1-874719-97-7,£35.00

Dates & Events
February 5, 2007, NanoDialogue, Final conference in Brussels

February 5-8, 2007, Citizen Participation and Democratic Governance, PRIA’s 25th anniversary Dialogues, Delhi, India

April 11-14, 2007, 10th Community-Campus Partnership for Health conference , Mobilizing Partnerships for Social Change, Toronto, Canada

June, 17-21 2007, How to design and organize public deliberation? 2nd CIPAST training workshop in Naples, Italy

For more dates and events related to citizen participation see ‘news’ and ‘dates and events’ at the CIPAST-website

The views expressed in the notes, messages and links are those of the authors and owners of the website and are not necessarily endorsed by the publisher. Whilst every care has been taken, the publisher does not accept any liability for errors that may have occurred.

CIPAST – Citizen Participation in Science and Technology

CIAPST Newsletter: Editor: Norbert Steinhaus, Wissenschaftsladen Bonn e.V., Buschstr. 85 - D-53113 Bonn, Tel + (49) 228 201 61 22, fax + (49) 228 26 52 82,

CIPAST project coordination: Roland Schaer, La Cité des sciènces et de l´industrie, Paris, France,

The newsletters are archived on the CIPAST Website‘Forum’ pages.:

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CIPAST – Citizen Participation in Science and Technology - has been awarded financial support by the European Commission through the contract No. 013518 in the framework of “Coordination Action”; programme “Structuring the European Research Area”

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